Roundup: The great Alberta merger

Following 95 percent results on both Progressive Conservative and Wildrose Alliance party referendums, it looks like the new United Conservative Party in Alberta is a go, with the big question being who will be the interim leader while they formalize the process and start an actual leadership selection process. And hey, that could mean some internecine warfare right off the start. The death of the PC party in that province is a bit of an odd thing, but not entirely out of keeping with Alberta’s political history of single-party dynasties for long runs that eventually peter out and die, but what is left in the wake will be the big question.

Where the more centrist voters will go is the big question, because I’m not entirely certain that they’ll all migrate to the UCP, especially with the Wildrose component playing such a big role in it. While Jason Kenney spent the last year trying to convince people that a PC and a Wildrose vote would equal two against the NDP, I’m not sure the math is actually that solid. Why? Aside from the fact that it glosses over some of the history of the last provincial election, what the merger papers over in particular is the growing gap between rural and urban voters in the province, where riding redistribution has meant that the gerrymandered rural ridings no longer hold the weight that they once did. Make no mistake, there was a very big urban/rural divide between the PC and Wildrose parties, and much of that is along the social conservatism issue. Wildrose voters weren’t only outraged about the fiscal profligacy of later PC governments as they were about the fact that they capitulated on social issues, particularly around LGBT rights that they remain firmly opposed to. It’s why they pushed Danielle Smith out of the party (leading her to cross the floor to Prentice’s PCs at the time), and Jason Kenney and Brian Jean are going to have a hell of a time trying to square this particular circle when they try to build their “free enterprise coalition” as though the social conservative issues won’t rear their heads. What this merger may end up doing is regenerating the centrist parties in the province (take your pick between the Alberta Liberals, who have a new, credible leader, and the Alberta Party) now that the amorphous, centrist PC party is no more.

Good reads:

  • Justin Trudeau became the first sitting PM to march in Halifax’s Pride parade. Meanwhile, we’re still waiting in Ottawa for any leader to bother showing up.
  • Andrew Scheer says Trudeau isn’t working hard enough on NAFTA and is spending too much time on a China deal. No, seriously.
  • The citizenship guide is getting a revamp, with less focus on “barbaric cultural practices” and more on honouring Indigenous treaties.
  • Travellers to Canada are being scammed by fraudulent websites claiming to be processers of the new electronic travel authorizations.
  • A proposed American warship programme could cut into ours as intellectual property concerns becomes a sticking point with the procurement process.
  • Éric Grenier says the NDP are in a better place now than in most of their leadership campaigns.

One thought on “Roundup: The great Alberta merger

  1. Alberta politics always appear to be extremist politics. The social conservatism in that province is scary, for such a small population base and a deep divide between Urban and Rural it is a strange place. Hopefully the Urban area can overcome the narrow conservative white christian agenda of the new party. The media should also be more on the watch for people like Jean and Kenney, both Tea Party style advocates.

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